Skip to main content

tv   BBC News  BBC News  April 15, 2019 8:00pm-9:02pm BST

8:00 pm
wa ke wake up tomorrow when parisians wake up tomorrow morning. and there we have the french president, arriving to see the most famous of french a monument being destroyed before our eyes. we are thinking tonight paris, and of the cathedral. you are watching a bbc news special. the headlines. a catastrophic fire engulfs notre—dame in parly, toppling its spire and threaten the entire wooden frame of the building. plumes of smoke are pouring from the landmark steeples. there are no reports yet of any casualty, the cause of the blaze is not known but officials say it could be linked to renovation work. these are the live pictures of the fire at the 850—year—old gothic building which firefighters are still struggling to get
8:01 pm
under control. paris's famous cathedral notre—dame has been devastated by a huge fire, most of the roof is engulfed in fla mes most of the roof is engulfed in flames and the main spire has collapsed. smoke is billows from the building and eyewitness have reported some of the windows are melting. the first reports of the fire surfaced about 6.00 uk time, within minutes the blaze had spread gci’oss within minutes the blaze had spread across notre—dame‘s roof. this is the moment that the cathedral's main spire collapsed. a cathedral spokesman has said that the frame of the roof is on fire, and that the cathedral's famous steeples have been blackened by the flames and the smoke. the major operation now is under way, to try and
8:02 pm
tackle this blaze, the surrounding areas have been cleared because of course there isa been cleared because of course there is a risk of debris falling in this very busy historic part of france, the french president emmanuel macron has tweeted of his sadness at seeing what he described as part of us burn. the mayor of london wrote of his heartbreak, saying london stands in sorrow with paris today. let us look now at the scene live in paris where emergency services are of course trying to tackle that blaze. these are the latest picture... as the light falls and dusk settles. row can still see the flames there, burning. at notre—dame. this is iconic building, not only in paris, not only in france but round the world. iam not only in france but round the world. i am joined not only in france but round the world. iamjoined by not only in france but round the world. i am joined by our paris correspondent. what can you tell us now of whether the flames are coming under control. i am standing where i have been standing for the last
8:03 pm
hour and a half looking aghast at the scenes in front of me. the fire is clea rlies past its scenes in front of me. the fire is clearlies past its worse, an hour or so clearlies past its worse, an hour or so ago there were massive flames, a furnace burning on the roof of the building. consuming the whole of the raf culminating in the collapse of the fire now, since then the roof has been completely erased and what was from my view an elevation of roof, above the parapet of the stone wall has gone and the top is parret of the stone wall and as the zie turns to a dark violet, there is an orange glow mixing with the blue, dark blue above the wall of the cathedral, as occasional licks of flame still come up and smoke, but a lighter smoke billows round. there are teams who seem lighter smoke billows round. there are teams who seem to have access with their water cannon more
8:04 pm
closely now, there was a real problem at the first though, obviously, it was very, very hard for the crews to get anywhere near, now there are at least, i can see two jets of water being directed on to the flames but clearly, the aim is damage limitation, the roof has gone, there was never a question of saving the roof. the question was saving the tower at the front and that has been done, i don't think there is danger to the facade of the cathedral, though as you say there are reports that the stained glass may have been damaged from the heat in the rose window. i can't see that from here. the steeple, that spire has fallen m, the steeple, that spire has fallen in, we understand inside. within the building. it must have done. i was here, right up close to the building, we are on the south side and there is part of, an island we are separated by the river or the branch of the river but we are up close to the quayside there, and
8:05 pm
then there was a —— aghast from the crowd round me and i looked up and through the smoke, it is like something from the blitz in the uk, in the war, you could see the spire collapsing, before we had seen the fla mes collapsing, before we had seen the flames licking up it and we knew it was doomed and a crash and it must have fallen into the interior of the cathedral where i presume there are enormous earths under way to stop the roof —— efforts, there must be immense damage inside. i don't see through the windows from where i am standing any flames licking up, i doesn't look as if there is serious fire in the building. we heard there we re fire in the building. we heard there were no reports of any injury, we are not clear whether the cathedral was still opening, it was nearing time, there are so many people round that area. it would have still been open, it was only 6.00, there would have been people going in and out. it's a functioning cathedral, it is
8:06 pm
coming up to easter, there would have been the staff and clergy, you know, associating and so on, but the fire was on the roof, it started on the roof, there is scaffolding, the starting point when i arrived you could see it billowing out, picking a point in the roof, is it is a point where the south transept, the bit that makes the cross stick out from the knave, and there is a very high piece of scaffolding there, where people assume were working on the stonework which is in a parlous state, there has been renovation work going on for two or three years because people have warned the state of the cathedral wasn't good. the wooden structure of the roof wasn't the problem. the renovation was on the problem. the renovation was on the stonework which is rotting, but there was scaffolding there, was it an accident caused by workmen? highly likei an accident caused by workmen? highly like i would have thought. what is the reaction of the people
8:07 pm
round you ? we what is the reaction of the people round you? we have heard people are extremely upset. they are upset. many of the people are tourists round me here and there were thousands of them round me, and initially it was simply a reaction of aw and horror and gosh, i have to see this, i haven't seen anything like this. it is apparent this was a conflagration, the like of which a building like this may be see once every few hundred year, among parisians, the feeling is deep. they may have lost their religious sense in the main, it has got a religious reaction, but it is still a reaction from the soul, from deep down inside people, because this is a landmark, a building which sits on the heart of historic paris, this is where paris began, where france began, on the island t ile de la cite. and
8:08 pm
before the cathedral there was another church, before that there was probably a roman temple there, it goes backs to the foundations of the, of france, let alone paris, so, it is an enormously important building, round it the city's life has always turned. the bells have rung for all the disaster, and for the moments ofjoy in the life of this city and so when people look and see the sights they have seen tonight, it is gut wrenching for them. and you said there, that the thought is at the moment, this is an accident of some kind. obviously too early to tell. we are hearing reports that just to let you early to tell. we are hearing reports thatjust to let you know, that there is possibly flames inside one of the two tower, unesco saying they are trying to save and restore notre—dame but at the moment the fla mes notre—dame but at the moment the flames are still burning. yes,
8:09 pm
i mean the fire is still burning, i can see the glow from where i am, occasional licks of flame that get above the parapet. i am looking at an angle. occasional there is a spurt that comes up, but the roof, it is the gallery space which would have been under the roof, but it is still burning, a definite glow against the dark blue of the sky. yes, i mean, you know, immensely sad occasion, for everyone who has got a sta ke occasion, for everyone who has got a stake in this cathedral. that is everyone. as i say the religious significance obviously to people in the main is is not what it was, but still, it's a building that has defined the city of paris and round which life here in paris revolves still. what about the treasures within the building. the stained glass, some of the statues had been taken away glass, some of the statues had been ta ken away and glass, some of the statues had been taken away and efforts made to salvage what was inside.
8:10 pm
taken away and efforts made to salvage what was insidelj taken away and efforts made to salvage what was inside. i can't say how much damage there is. there are treasures inside. the rose window is one thing, and it will be the metal surround of the bits of glass which would have melted and could cause serious damage. i cannot see that. inside there are treasure, a portion of the true cross, you know, believing the christian belief, historically it has been worshipped asa historically it has been worshipped as a piece of the true cross in the building as bell, which will —— well, which will be in potential danger, i have no idea what is happening inside. then there are the memories of what happened inside the cathedral, the you know the destruction in the revolution, the memories of that, the statues of the kings and so on, then the coronation of napoleon in 1805, i think, and the famous pictures of what happened then, as i say, moving through time up then, as i say, moving through time up to ourera then, as i say, moving through time up to our era and the end of
8:11 pm
the second world war, the liberation of paris, the bells of notre—dame were rang out to celebrate that and bring people on to the streets. it is that kind of building. it is like westminster abbey, st paul's cathedral. it is the life and soul of city and its history, it is a place that has been there, it has been there for 850 years and before that there was something there and before that there was something there. it is the start of this city when it was a village surrounded by pal said on when it was a village surrounded by palsaid on an when it was a village surrounded by pal said on an island, that place has been important. thank you for now. just to repeat that reuters is saying that fire has been seen inside one of the two towers of notre—dame cathedral, in paris. you can see the images coming in as darkness falls in paris, and still, lots of people in the surrounding areas and the flames still burning and one person visiting
8:12 pm
paris is the british labour member of parliament yvette cooper who was at the seen earlier, were you there as the fire started, what did you see? we were walking along the seine and the sky was clear, by seven the sky was thick with smoke and you could see the flames, licking the spire. it is heartbreaking, that this could have happened so quickly, and people stopping by the bridges, just, just gaping, just in horror at what was happening, it is unbelievable this could happen, really, really awful. and was there any indication where you were of how this might have started, did you hear anything in not at all and most people were just stopping, just to stare at how awful it was. people are just feeling deeply fearful that anybody could have been caught up in it, just fea rful have been caught up in it, just fearful for anybody who might have been near the flames and for the
8:13 pm
firefighter, we could see the jets of water, we could see just after seven, and then obviously, we saw the rose window blow as well, the fire, the flames started to flicker out and the roof started to go. it is so incredibly fast it happened, bah because there were no flames in the sky three—quarters of an hour before. and to see something where you have centuries of history and beauty, just disappear into the fla mes beauty, just disappear into the flames so quickly, just feels unimaginable. have you heard anything to suggest this was anything to suggest this was anything other than an accident?” can't say anything, any reason to see anything, any cause at all from where we were standing, we were further back along the seine so i don't think could tell, that is obviously a matter for the fire
8:14 pm
investigators the and i am sure they will do a thorough job, investigators the and i am sure they will do a thoroughjob, right investigators the and i am sure they will do a thorough job, right now everybody is just struck with the awfulness of losing something so precious, the damage that is being done. and it was hard to tell yvette from the pictures we were getting as to how quick the response was, was that something you could see in erm temperatures of, were there a lot of firefighters on the ground, in the air? we couldn't see any helicopters. the helicopters you could hear quite quickly, so i think the helicopters you could hear in the helicopters you could hear in the sky by seven or maybe 7.15. i don't know when it started. we noticed the smoke in the sky, sort of just before noticed the smoke in the sky, sort ofjust before seven, maybe about ten to seven, something like that, and then, it grew quickly, you could hear the helicopters in the sky, you could hear the sirens going, and,
8:15 pm
i think by about war test par seven we could see the jets —— quarter past seven, we could see the jets of water being fired as well, but, but what was just astonishing was how fast the flames took off, and quite how fast they spread as well. and that was what was so shocking about it all. were people being kept back from the area, was that emergency response on the ground? 50 we were the other side of the seine so couldn't see what was happening on the ground, but the nature of notre—dame is you can see it from all along the seine, you can see it when either side of the islands, you can see it from far away, and so thatis can see it from far away, and so that is why i think all along the banks of the seine people were stopping by all the bridges, motorbikes pulling up, people stopping as they were walking, just to stop and stare in her or, and at
8:16 pm
what was happening but we couldn't see what was happening on the ground. i don't know if you were family orfriends, ground. i don't know if you were family or friends, but the response of those you were with and people round you. it is awful. i am here with i many daughter, and just, just awful. it was unbearable to watch. we moved away from the seine at that point, because it is so track eic to see what was happening. —— tragic. you can see parisians really moving down towards the seine to watch what is happening but people pulling away, almost in sadness as well, at what has happened, it, as we know it is such an immensely important historic and iconic building for the city, but also, for people from much further afold as well. thank you very much forjoining us on bbc news. ijust want news. i just want to show you some pictures of the french president mr
8:17 pm
macron, who has been visiting the site of that fire. the president was due to be making a speech because france has been going through some political difficulties and protests and he was due to be making an important speech this evening but he has had to cancel that, he has postponed that and rushed to the cathedral, to see what was happening, to transport the firefighters of course, in that battle. and of course the damage is going to be very substantial. it is already very substantial with the roof falling in and that spire collapsing and reports of one of the two towers you can see, on flames. it is not clear from the images as yet, that is that very famous and stunning front facade of notre—dame, a place that draws so many visitors every day, every year, it is visible
8:18 pm
right across that skyline, across the river seine, and it is much loved throughout the country. it is somewhere that is visited by visitors from around the world for many year, we can speak now to one of those tourists are, from britain. you saw this fire as it started i think. that is right. i am in a book shop speak spear and company people will know it well. i am on the third or fourth floor of this building about 150 metres away from the cathedral, so i can kind of, i have a descent view of the roof, about an hour—and—a—half ago, so probably 7 o'clock local time is when the first fla mes o'clock local time is when the first flames started to lick up through the roof, and just where the spire is and where they
8:19 pm
set up scaffolding for the renault investigation, within about 45 minutes the flames has progressed all the way to the front of the building where the twin bell towers are, and gutted the entire roof scape, and it had fallen m, entire roof scape, and it had fallen in, then the central spire fell in and from where i am standing i can see that, the flames have died down a bit, you can see that half of the spire fell into the building and crashed through that scaffolding leaving a hold through that scaffolding work, while the other half of the spire has been dropped up half of the spire has been dropped up by half of the spire has been dropped up by the scaffolding currently while it remains ablaze. certainly glowing. there are thousands of tiny bits of embers up going up through the sky. your can see them now, that night has pretty much descended in paris, the horrifying scene is that the left bell tower as you look on
8:20 pm
to notre—dame from the front is now alight. i can see 00:20:04,1000 --> 00:20:06,787 that the flames are there, in one of the bell towers, to the right and to the back, it is an awkward view, if you are standing on the front you probably can't see it but it is definitely alight now, that is very tragic, looking what the the firemen have been doing they put their hoses into the seine and they have a boat parked up, pumping it into the seine and dumping it into the centre of the cathedral. the centre of the cathedral is in fact very hard to imagine it is not completely on fire, having watched all of these timbers fall inand watching the fla mes timbers fall inand watching the flames still emanating from the building, it is a very tall building, it is a very tall building, it is at least 15 floors up building, it is at least 15 floors up to the top of the roof and of course it is another probably 15 floors to the top of the bell towers. it is a very tall building, that amount of flame to be produced, it is not coming from the roof,
8:21 pm
because the roof isn't there any more. it is going at the heart of the cathedral and it is gutting it as we speak. obviously, people watching this and hearing this are going to be devastated to hear that further description of one of the bell towers also potentially on fla mes bell towers also potentially on flames because saving this monument, restoring it relies on obvious lib, some of it still surviving, on obviously. the whole neighbourhood has been evacuated, obviously chaos on the ground too. does it feel as though there are enough firefighters there that have been able to access there that have been able to access the area, because it's a very busy built up area, right by the river? it is is a built up area, however, there is, there is an open area to there is, there is an open area to the front of the cathedral, and you o know there aren't enough firefighter, they can't get high enough. there are several cherry pickers can i so, at
8:22 pm
least three, perhaps a fourth, that have been going at it but it is a huge building and they can't seem to get high enough as well. that is the other problem. the cherry i pickers reach to the bottom testify roof. they are still about 20 feet from the top of the roof, and then of course there is more of the building, so they are not getting the height they want, they will put this fire out properly, but they are still dumping water into it. they arrived about 15 minutes after the fla mes arrived about 15 minutes after the flames started coming up through the roof, but the, i can still see hundreds, probably about 70 firefighters still waiting on the side. i think, firefighters still waiting on the side. ithink, you knowi firefighters still waiting on the side. i think, you know i thought they were formulating a plan how to tackle this, but it is a massive fire andi tackle this, but it is a massive fire and i think they are being cautious, they don't want to lose their colleagues in a fire like this, but at the same time as i am talking, you can see these torchlight pierce through
8:23 pm
the front of the building, underneath the bell tower and those are firefighters, five or six i can see, actually, right at the top, i saw a firefighter there at one point, but thatis firefighter there at one point, but that is now alight. there is a smallish fire in one of the bell towers there, i think they are trying to get the hose to it and probably struggling to do so, but there are certainly firefighters checking the rest of the top of that building, so ss they are doing their work but also, they are trying to save the bell towers by, apologies for the noise, by dousing the bell tower and the stonework of that, and making sure it doesn't itself crack under the heat. and there are no helicopters trying to get the flames from above as
8:24 pm
far as you can see? no, there are some helicopters, it is possible they are overhead of this build, they are not directly overhead the cathedral. there were some drones, i don't know who is operating them but possibly with the fire service themselves, so they we re fire service themselves, so they were in the air. the firefighters, the helicopters, they were dumping water, i don't think it is that operation, they have the seine right here and they are pumping the water straight out and into the heart of cathedral. what has been the reaction of the people round you? that book shop is just opposite notre—dame, just across from the river, it is the heart of tourist france where people come from round the world, what are the french people who live and work there?” think everyone's primarily very shocked and incredibly heartbroken, france has opinion going through its
8:25 pm
own recent political traumas, the yellow jacket protests, own recent political traumas, the yellowjacket protests, causing... a voice for what has been going on here and political frustration, voice for what has been going on here and politicalfrustration, then you, in the mix of all of this, now you, in the mix of all of this, now you have this what can only be described as a national disaster, you know, this building is hundreds of years out old. it is the heart of the city. it sits on the island as your previous correspondent spoke about, that really was the beginnings of paris. speaking to the people who run the book shop they are in utter shock. this book shop has been here for 70 years which is almost nothing in the lifetime of the cathedral and you don't expect a monument like this to go up in fla mes monument like this to go up in flames before your very eyes. absolutely. absolutely. thank you very much for your time and reports there, from that eyewitness that one of the bell towers also is shot with
8:26 pm
flames, firefighters struggling still to try and contain them, even though they have had some success but limiting it. we know the roof has fallen in, the spire has fallen in. our paris correspondent sent this update a short tiling a. on the banks of the seine stretches away from this cathedral people are lining the pavements staring up at the sky, as the plumes of smoke billowing out of notre—dame cathedral, visible across paris, the acrid smell of the cathedral burning. it has only been going about an hour ago but the flames have engulfed the roof wrapping themselves round the turrets at the back. we are not sure yet what has caused this fire, there is some suggestion it could be linked to renovation works that were being carried out here and we are told that president macron is here to address the firefighters. this cathedral has been damaged so many times in its history, it has been
8:27 pm
here almost 1,000 years but never anything like this. well earlier my colleagues matthew priced spoke to a french ministerm is an unfortunate tragedy. it is france as a whole who suffer and cry. centuries of french and history go cry. centuries of french and history 9° up cry. centuries of french and history go up in smoke. what do you feel as you look at the images of the fire in notre—dame? you look at the images of the fire in notre-dame? i am so sad to see this event, and as the representative of the french politicians i want to share my sadness, with all the french people. there is some criticism i understand early criticism of the response, it feels too early to have that sort of criticism, but are you in any position to talk about how prepared or otherwise the french
8:28 pm
firefighters, the authorities may have been for something like this? no, no, it is too early, we don't know anything just now. the... of course it will be lost on no christians round the world that yesterday was palm sunday, next weekend is easter sunday, the holy weekend is easter sunday, the holy week in the christian church and as president macron pointed out catholics in paris, christians will be watching their beloved notre—dame burn, in this very holy spiritual week. it is certainly for catholic, it is all french people, and all around the world. because the main, the most important monument in europe, which is the most visited, and history belongs not a
8:29 pm
little to question, but i think that everybody is very sad tonight. in the region. we heard earlier from is very sad tonight. in the region. we heard earlierfrom ken follett who studieded the construction of these buildings that what can happen inafire these buildings that what can happen in a fire like this that the roof colla pses in a fire like this that the roof collapses into the building. yes. do you think that is why this blaze spread so quickly and so ferociously? it is a good explanation. you are right, it is a good explanation. you are watching a bbc news special. let us bring you up—to—date on the breaking news there paris. a catastrophic fire, topping the entire wooden frame
8:30 pm
of the building. plumes of smoke are still pouring from the historic landmark‘s steeples — there are no reports of any casualties. the cause of the blaze is not known, but officials say it could be linked to renovation work. the french president, emmanuel macron, has just arrived at the scene of the fire. he tweeted tonight, i am sad to see this part of us burn. these are live pictures of the fire at the 850—year old gothic building. firefighters are still struggling to get it under control. it has been known for so many years asa it has been known for so many years as a gothic masterpiece. one of the greatest exa m ples as a gothic masterpiece. one of the greatest examples of gothic cathedrals anywhere. it is literally the centre of france, where roads are measured from. it is the heart of victor hugo's novel, its architecture, and the sheer
8:31 pm
scale and beauty of that building is seen across the skyline of paris. along the river, across the bridges, over the river, across the bridges, over the river, across the bridges, over the river seine. so many people would have been inside that building to marvel at its beauty inside and outside and now, of course, firefighters battling to see what they can save of it. the steeple having fallen in, part of the roof having fallen in, part of the roof having collapsed. there are messages from leaders right around the world. germany's mrs merkel says she is deeply saddened by these events, our thoughts are with our friend french. that message is been repeated for many people from britain, from president trump, also exposing his distress at seeing these images. let's speak to britonjohn
8:32 pm
brennan now, who ran the paris marathon yesterday. john, you were with your family in paris when you started seeing smoke plumes? where were you? what did you see? we we re where were you? what did you see? we were actually outside notre dame. went were actually outside notre dame. we nt a cross were actually outside notre dame. went across the river to the main square. we saw went across the river to the main square. we saw some went across the river to the main square. we saw some smoke coming from underneath the spire. nobody really taking notice, but the smoke ended up getting bigger and bigger and eventually a small crowd gathered and it was obsolete summing very bad going on. it took hold very quickly. we started making our way to the metro, but less than an hour later, the place wasjust to the metro, but less than an hour later, the place was just engulfed. my later, the place was just engulfed. my son saw the roof collapsed on the left—hand side... my son saw the roof collapsed on the left-hand side... did you hear anything when the smoke started? was there any indication at all of how this could have started?
8:33 pm
no, not at all. no one is really paying much attention to it. no one noticed loads going on until it took hold. and what was the reaction of people around you ? and what was the reaction of people around you? were you cleared away or was the reaction of the emergency services quite slow? was that possible to tell? it did take quite a while to hear any sirens. there we re a while to hear any sirens. there were loads of them. it did seem quite a while. the people where we we re quite a while. the people where we were standing were already panicked because we... the spire was absently jam—packed. people just covering their mouths, shocked. french people in particular. kind of an eerie shocked atmosphere.” in particular. kind of an eerie shocked atmosphere. i know when i was there a few weeks ago, the long queues outside notre—dame stop was it busy still at that time of the evening? it was really busy. we took all her photos. we did not go inside
8:34 pm
because the queue was too big. it was just as busy as it always is. and where are you now? are you still in the area or have you moved away? the kids got to distressed indian. lots did. we cut the metro back to our apartment. —— the kids got to distressed being there. your sense of emergency service reaction. it was difficult to tell from the images we were seeing but it's obviously quite a densely packed area to get fire engines in. can you tell how long it was before they got to the scene? i could not actually see where the... it's really a big building. it's... idon't see where the... it's really a big building. it's... i don't know how they could get high enough to fight it to be honest with you. it was a good half an hour after we notice something. john brennan, thank you very much forjoining us. just to repeat, it is being reported one of
8:35 pm
the bell towers is on fire. this is a very significant week as we we re this is a very significant week as we were just reporting earlier. it is easter coming up. i am actually doing paris in a couple of days with my family coming. just family coming.justan family coming. just an unbelievable time with these pictures, with the firefighters still unable to stop the flames. a special week and lots of tourists there. hearing about people, pers the ends —— parisians and taurus. inserted quick. 6pm french time. this is the heart of french time. this is the heart of french identity, this gothic cathedral. it is magnificent. it took 200 years to build between the 12th and the 14th century. it has
8:36 pm
now about 13 million people visiting it. it's such a massive symbol, and seeing that, the steeple falling down, a massive symbol. and now we are thinking about all the treasures, all the craftwork inside thatis treasures, all the craftwork inside that is being lost. we've heard that the wooden tower, the structure, is com plete the wooden tower, the structure, is complete destroyed. there's beautiful rose windows, famous, now destroyed. we have heard one of the bell towers is a light. we have heard that it is under, not under control, but it is not burning so fiercely as it was. and we are seeing that the firefighters are now using water cannons, there's a helicopter. they've got a boat on the river seine where they are trying to get there, everybody trying to get there, everybody trying to get there, everybody trying to see what they can save here. and we heard president macron
8:37 pm
has just arrived there, and earlier he said that we see that part of all of us burned tonight. it's a massive thing for france, and this building, 850 yea rs old. thing for france, and this building, 850 years old. absolutely. just too sick of that spire had fallen, so it's possible there are plans that are in existence that could be used to rebuild at least that part of the building. we are getting reaction from right around the world. the british foreign secretaryjeremy hunt has tweeted that he is thinking of all ourfriends in france hunt has tweeted that he is thinking of all our friends in france tonight following its devastating fire, and heartbreaking for the millions who love this great cathedral and great city across the world. theresa may has also tweeted on this... this is the british prime minister's message. a spokesman for the
8:38 pm
paris fire department says that the next hour and a half apparently is crucial in order to see if the fire of notre dame cathedral can be contained. that is being reported by reuters, a spokesman saying this is an absolutely crucial 90 minutes stop obviously there's a huge level of damage there. the stone structure contract also we know that the windows, of course, potentially damage. we know what the rose window of course also damaged already, the spire has collapsed. part of the roof has collapsed also. we are joined by another eyewitness in paris now. annie shipton who lives in paris, and saw the fire break out. what did you see? where were you?” was just what did you see? where were you?” wasjust finishing work what did you see? where were you?” was just finishing work and i saw the fire at the back of the
8:39 pm
church. initially i thought it was another building, and there were a lot of policeman around, fire engines. it could've been anything up until i saw the smoke and i realise it actually notre—dame stop and then from then on, a crowd gathered and ever and was just watching it. it was horrible. no one could do anything. everyone was powerless. the spires got engulfed in flames and that took in the centre of the building. and then the fire collapsed and the centre gradually caught fire engine progressed towards the two towers at the front. and where are you now? are you still the area? i am close back up i walked back to where i live. can you see where those towers are in the fla mes see where those towers are in the flames could i cannot now but it looks like it was all heading in that direction. still crowds of people gathered there. did you see
8:40 pm
or hear anything when this started. reports there were workmen with this restoration going on, the scaffolding in that area on that pa rt scaffolding in that area on that part of the building where the fla mes part of the building where the flames started, or the smoke started initially. did you see or hear anything when it began? no one knew what was going on. even, i was one of the first people to find out, and people in my office gradually found out just by seeing people in my office gradually found outjust by seeing it people in my office gradually found out just by seeing it from people in my office gradually found outjust by seeing it from the roof, what was happening, and i think it could have been anything up until the point that it was quite obvious it was completely ablaze. it looks at the resultant kind of event going on. all the roads became blocked off. i don't think people really aware of what was going on. the vatican, just to let you know for those watching, the vatican has released a statement saying this fire is incredible and of course
8:41 pm
very sad. this is a historic monuments, a catholic cathedral but loved by people christian and others who just marvel at the beauty, who marvel at the architecture. a lot of people you live and work with, for those who live in paris, it must be in colby distressing to see this. they are all horrified. everyone watching it come everyone i spoke to, they are not sure what to do. —— eve ryo ne to, they are not sure what to do. —— everyone watching it, everyone i spoke to. it is quite symbolic of this building being destroyed in front of them and having no power to do anything about it. are you surprised that perhaps helicopters we re surprised that perhaps helicopters were not brought in or that there wasn't a faster more obvious huge response from the emergency services? obviously we don't know how quickly they got there and what they are doing. a very difficult situation for them. i think there was definitely a sense of
8:42 pm
frustration among the other people in the crowd. i was just hearing what people were saying about the reaction. it was only towards the end of the time i was to their watching that helicopters start to arrive. and just describe someone who lives and works in paris, how it's —— how notre—dame is regarded there now. it's quite important. it is one of oursimilar now. it's quite important. it is one of our similar buildings. like big bend, that catching fire come i cannot imagine. the idea of that not being there, quite life—changing in a way. and in terms of any potential cause, is the sense that that this is accidentalfrom cause, is the sense that that this is accidental from everything you have seen and heard and from who you
8:43 pm
have seen and heard and from who you have spoken to? everything i have heard is they think the construction work being done on the back of the building, that's what todd fire, and that's what seemed to be what todd fire. i have not heard any reason for it to have started. —— seems to have caught fire. the public being moved back... we have heard some concern about the falling debris, that people in the area could also be at risk. we do not know if anyone inside the building was involved. we have not heard of any reports of injuries just yet. i definitely think there we re just yet. i definitely think there were some issues of crowd control. i did not really see because i was not close enough, but everyone watching it, i saw people gathering towards it, walking towards it to photos in the road. they were having a hard time controlled people in cars
8:44 pm
in the area. everyone was just rushing towards it. annie shipton, thank you very much indeed. watching these pictures of notre—dame cathedral, this iconic, amazing gothic monument in paris still inflames. firefighters struggling to contain it. the vatican has said that notre dame, the fire has caused shock and sadness and us is that it is close to french conflicts and is praying for the firefighters for some the archbishop of paris is called on all priests in paris to ring the bells asa priests in paris to ring the bells as a mark of gesture for notre—dame cathedral. we can see, of course, this firefighters trying to reach the flames with the water cannon. we have heard they are connected right to the
8:45 pm
seine. this iconic landmark around the world stands by the bridges overlooking the seine. its size make it stand on the paris skyline. the french president emmanuel macron has rushed to the scene, cancelling a huge speech he was due to be given, a life speech after political times in france with the yellow vest protest. he described sadness he saw after seeing "part of us burn". the first reports of the surface nearly three hours ago now. within minutes, smoke and then the blazes spreading across the roof of notre—dame. the main spire collapsed, and the cathedral spokesmen have said that the roof was on fire and of course these were the earlier pictures of these were the earlier pictures of the day as that fire took hold and the day as that fire took hold and the steeple falls.
8:46 pm
absolutely tragic because that is hundreds of years of artand because that is hundreds of years of art and architecture, beloved by so many. the workmanship, craftsmanship, the beauty of that building, famed throughout the world and loved by so many full stoppage are so many taurus and loved by so many full stoppage are so many taurus from writer on the road to paris. —— tourists. it's the road to paris. —— tourists. it's the centre literally of france were all the roads are measured from. we have heard messages of support and of shared heartbreak from leaders right around the world, from hillary clinton, from donald trump, from the bridgeport minister, from mrs merkel in germany —— from the british prime minister. from many others. everyone desperate to try and help. there will be a huge focus on what can be restored, what restoration can be done because that spire had been built relatively recently, some
8:47 pm
hope of plans for it potential he to be rebuilt. before anyone gets to talk of real restoration, the first aim is to put out the fire. they have not been any reports as of yet of casualties. but the cathedral was still open. it was early evening in france, in paris, always phenomenally busy there were people queuing in front of the cathedral, queuing in front of the cathedral, queuing to get in, and these were the fire pictures from earlier. that steeple falls there to the right of the screen as you can just see it it toppling. that is absolutely devastating. images coming into us from paris earlier with the smoke coming out of the wooden roof. the question, what damage also not to the inside? were there people inside? put at any risk? it is too early to say as yet but we are and have not been told of any casualties at this point.
8:48 pm
the bbc‘s fergal keane is on the banks of the seine and a short while ago gave us this update. fire crews from across paris have come here to say whatever they possibly can and destructing thing standing among the crowds on the banks of the seine is just the silence quiet of people stunned by the destruction of notjust a great french cultural artefact but of one that belongs to the world. we can talk now to our religious editor martin bashir. this is an iconic catholic cathedral, this is easter week, but this building is loved by people right around the world. it is. it is a world heritage site. the interesting thing about the cultural status of notre—dame is that it's only major rival on the skyline is the eiffel tower, and that's been there for barely 100 years. this building has been there for 1200 yea rs. building has been there for 1200 years. but it's also true to say that france is a
8:49 pm
secular culture and society. in 1905, the french passed a law on the separation of church and state. which prohibited them, the state, from recognising or founding any religion and led to the barring of religious symbols in schools and public institutions. it also led to the closure of most church run schools. when president macron expressed his sadness, he acknowledged all catholics and all french people. in terms of the catholic church and seldom estimates range between 41 and 88% of the nation describing themselves as catholics. the church is organised into about 98 dioceses, and in 2012, these dioceses were being served by 7000 priests above the age of 75. the church currently ordains around 80 or 90 priests a
8:50 pm
year, and needs about eight times that number to compensate for the number of those who have passed away. as you say, it isa who have passed away. as you say, it is a world heritage site and a tt ra cts is a world heritage site and attracts billions of people every year. this week being holy week, we have just had palm year. this week being holy week, we havejust had palm sunday year. this week being holy week, we have just had palm sunday yesterday, and we are moving through the week, through stations of the cross, monty thursday, and catholics will be expected to visit the church —— seine thursday. we are just hearing that saving notre—dame is not certain, according to the french interiors minister according to reuters. saving the building itself, thatis reuters. saving the building itself, that is key at the moment, and you can see the firefighters, you can still see the water jets can see the firefighters, you can still see the waterjets getting inside the building because it seems
8:51 pm
as though flames are inside one of the bell towers. i havejust seen notre—damejust the bell towers. i havejust seen notre—dame just a few weeks ago. we we re notre—dame just a few weeks ago. we were in paris, my family, and crowds of people from all around the world queuing up to get inside. how does this building managed to be iconic for people, from the other side of the continent come about also maintain its spiritual character? in part, is its age, and for a period, the papacy was split between rome and france. there was the avenue on papacy. the building itself is what makes it such an attractive place to visit. when you visited, i will assume you went inside and saw the magnificent front facing window, the spire and everything, but it is also a functioning church where people worship. yes, onto your
8:52 pm
point, particular poignant during holy week that this should be damaged. there are all those treasures inside that we heard from the authorities come and they are trying to save but not clear as yet whether they will be able to get access quickly enough. we have heard messages of support from the vatican. how big a loss is this to the catholic community in france? how big is the catholic unity in france? it is absolutely devastating for you asked about the size of the catholic immunity. it is somewhat complicated. when people are asked at their religious position is, across statistics, the numbers have been anything between 40 and 80% of people self describing is catholic. the vast majority suggested in, ithink, two years ago, most french people are catholic atheists. that is a combination of that status. but certainly is very different to britain, of
8:53 pm
course, in this country a monarch who is the supreme governor this country a monarch who is the supreme governor of the church also we have bishops who sit in the house of lords. we have major ceremonies that take place in our religious institutions, but since 1905, with this separation of church and state, france has established itself as a secular state. i was really wanting before i came on air, and it said is this in some way condemnation for that? you are member the fire in durham cathedral when the bishop there had said certain things about there had said certain things about the veracity of the new testament, and then there was the fire that struck. there was a similar thought it's obviously utterly devastating. how many planes will that have been as far as plans to restore this building was made and we have heard come it's not clear how much of this is going to be intact and the flames
8:54 pm
are finally put out. but...” is going to be intact and the flames are finally put out. but... i am afraid i'm not the best person to ask that question. you would expect ask that question. you would expect a monument of its age, it's ask that question. you would expect a monument of its age, its beauty, it's the stork proportion, —— its historic proportion... what we do know his last year, the catholic church sent out an appeal for funds to support the teacher. it is also the case, appears to be the case, there must have been some kind of emergency plan that apply to a building like this. but i'm afraid i do not have any answers on that. martin, just a with us for a moment. ijust want martin, just a with us for a moment. i just want to read out as well, from the deputy mayor from the area of paris, who has told her she arrived in time to see the spire fall, just started coming in flames. she said everybody is running to... everyone is so sad.
8:55 pm
let's speak to olivia johnson, who lives in paris and witnessed the fire. what do you see? were you? may be less tha n what do you see? were you? may be less than an hour after this started, i ran... i live less than a mile from notre—dame and they were already crowds gathering as the first flames kind of showed themselves, and the scene was, people were quiet and sad and just felt like nothing could be done. and we re felt like nothing could be done. and were you forced to move away? what was the response on the ground?” was the response on the ground?” was forced to move away, yes. i stood there for about five minutes and then ashes and all were falling on the crowd and the police were forcing people back. what were your thoughts as you saw this?” forcing people back. what were your thoughts as you saw this? i am devastated. i am standing here watching it from the backside now and i... it's so beautiful. it's
8:56 pm
such a bright spot in my day and it's devastating for me, not even french, to see this happening. did you have any idea as you saw this starting how it could have started? was there any indication? and he soundsmell and any clue at all?” was there any indication? and he soundsmell and any clue at all? i am not quite sure. i know that there have been reports of issues with the construction and the scaffolding that's been up there for a while. all i saw was just a giant plume of green— yellow smoke arriving some of the billing for quite some time. where are you standing now? what can you see at the moment?” where are you standing now? what can you see at the moment? i am on the left ba n k you see at the moment? i am on the left bank of the seine. i am facing west but looking at the backside. i can still see flames pretty much right behind the two towers and the front and in the central part of the building. still see
8:57 pm
flames arriving and, yes, there are firefighters all around it trying to fight the fire and still sirens going off every couple seconds, and just the seine is lined with hundreds of thousands of people. it is crazy. i've never seen of people. it is crazy. i've never seen paris this packed. and how are people reacting? and you're saying that it looks as though there are fla mes that it looks as though there are flames inside the towers? is that what you're saying? behind the two towers. i can't see quite if it's in the towers. i sure hope not. right in the middle of the building. ok, thank you very much indeed. we can speak now to another eyewitness there. izin akhabau — who was inside the cathedral this evening. where were you? basically my mum and my sister or visiting me because thatis my sister or visiting me because that is my year abroad. a kind of
8:58 pm
an alarm went off saying we should leave the building for security. normally on finishes at 6:45pm, so i thought it was just overcrowding. obviously was the fire. did you see the fire or cd smoke or smell anything? when i was outside, yes, but not when i was inside. when we we re but not when i was inside. when we were outside, we were asked to evacuate. i cannot see anything, any fire or something like that. what did you see when you are outside? as we we re did you see when you are outside? as we were getting further and further away, we saw smoke we were getting further and further away, we saw smoke rising. it had a green or like a yellow kind of colour to it. we thought it was quite strange. and where was that coming from? it was coming from the building... sorry, there wasjust coming from? it was coming from the building... sorry, there was just a beeping sound on the line. was there anything us could see? how
8:59 pm
fast it the flames? you could not see how fast it spread because we got away from it quite quickly for we had a lot of ambulances and such in the area, so lot of ambulances and such in the area, so we lot of ambulances and such in the area, so wejust lot of ambulances and such in the area, so we just did lot of ambulances and such in the area, so wejust did not lot of ambulances and such in the area, so we just did not really want to be in the way of people trying to respond on the scene. ok, thank you very much indeed for explaining that. just to let you know that the archbishop of canterbury, justin welby, has tweeted tonight. we pray for the firefighters... merchandise year, your final thoughts this our. -- martin bashir. my thoughts this our. -- martin bashir. my final thoughts are this is the most important time of the christian calendar. it is easter this week. it matters so much to christians and thatis matters so much to christians and that is why this is such a devastating moment for the catholic community of france. martin bashir
9:00 pm
can think you very much indeed as we close this hour with images of notre dame cathedral, world —famous catholic cathedral, still in flames. the spire has collapsed. part of the roof has collapsed. people's prayers and thoughts around the world to try and thoughts around the world to try and save this building. hello, i'm ros atkins, this is outside source. we'll continue to bring you coverage from paris where notre dame cathedral is on fire. this is the situation at the moment. the authorities have said they're "not sure" if the fire can be stopped. the cathedral is 850 years old, and survived the second world war — but it is in grave danger now. this is the moment one of the main spires of the cathedral collapsed. the cause is not yet clear, but officials say that it could be linked to renovation work. president macron has cancelled
9:01 pm
a important policy speech and arrived at the scene earlier. he says it's like seeing part of the french people burn. we'll have ongoing coverage here on bbc news. ca ptu res captures the scale of what we have seen. notre dame cathedral has been devastated by fire. these are the live pictures. the fire continues to burn. the cathedral of notre dame is notjust one of paris's most famous landmarks — it's one of france's biggest cultural sites, and one of the world's most famous tourist attractions.

0 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on